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Biography

Soprano Amy Hansen’s lithe, exquisite voice and breath-taking acting have won her acclaim on operatic and symphonic stages alike. Opera Canada wrote of her title role performance with Calgary Opera, “Hansen was the complete Lakmé…she encompassed the virtuoso writing with ease, the top of her voice radiant, her lyrical singing meltingly beautiful…her acting pointed and convincing at every turn.” 

A featured soloist at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Post reported, "[the National Symphony Orchestra] accompanied soprano Amy Hansen, who lavished impressive coloratura skills on arias of Mozart..." The Oregonian called her “stellar”, “adorable”, and, when she debuted with Oregon Symphony, "Hansen sang the wickedly high "Queen of the Night" aria with poise and drama…she absolutely nailed the infamous high F's… and the audience loved her."

Ms. Hansen’s contagious joy and effortless beauty continue to make her an audience favorite, hailed as “electrifying", her voice “clear yet rich and vibrant", and her favorite appellation: “a Helen Hunt with pipes”. Concert highlights include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Oregon Symphony, and opera arias with the New Israeli Opera Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and Vermont Symphony. 

Ms. Hansen’s operatic roles include Leila in Pearl Fishers and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Edmonton Opera (“…Amy Hansen’s coloratura is silver and crystal in Donna Anna’s grieving arias.”  Edmonton Journal), Gilda in Rigoletto, Violetta in La Traviata, Marguerite in Faust,Adele in Die Fledermaus, Anina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Pat Nixon in Nixon in China, Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, Die Zauberflöte’s Queen of the Night with the National Philharmonic, and Despina in Portland Opera and Brooklyn Philharmonic productions of Cosí fan tutte. "But the prize of the evening goes to Hansen's adorable Despina...Hansen delivered splendidly..." Willamette Week .

Her exciting career has taken her across the United States, Europe and Asia, where she has graced the stages of the National Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., North Carolina Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York, Taiwan National Theater, Tel Aviv Theater, Teatro di Urbania, Calgary Opera, Edmonton Opera, Michigan Opera and Sacramento Opera among others. 

Here in Oregon, you may have heard Ms. Hansen singing soprano solos for Mozart’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Verdi’s Requiem, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. She is regularly featured at the Astoria Music Festival, with Salem’s Masterworks Chorale and Festival Chorale. Perhaps you saw Ms. Hansen performing with the Oregon Symphony, the Eugene Symphony, Portland Opera, Third Angle, the Portland Symphonic Choir, at the Cascade Festival of Music, or Portland's Festa Italiana. For Portland Summerfest’s Opera in the Park, in the Washington Park Rose Garden, her roles include Gilda in Rigoletto, Violetta in La Traviata, Micaela in Carmen,andAdele in Die Fledermaus. She has enjoyed singing with Opera Theater Corvallis, Rogue Valley Opera, at Mt. Angel Abbey and River Rythms at Monteith Park.

Recitals of art song are one of Ms. Hansen’s favorite ways of connecting with her audience. In support of the Friends of Chamber Music, she has given a performance of Richard Strauss songs as well as a Scandinavian Schubertiade, featuring songs by Sibelius and Grieg, and lesser known but gorgeous songs by Stenhammar and Peterson-Berger. When Ms. Hansen was child, she lived with her family in Brazil, where she learned to speak Portuguese and enjoy the beautiful melancholy culture. She also studied Russian and enjoys singing songs and arias by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, and Stravinsky. Collaborating with lutenist Hideki Yamaya, she has also championed earlier works by composers such as Dowland, William and Henry Lawes, Rossiter, Morley, Campion, and Spanish composers Briceño, Durón, Mudarra and de Fuenllana. Of course, she has also performed many recitals of more traditional repertoire, including Schubert, Schumann and Mahler lieder, Debussy and Milhaud chansons and songs of Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mozart. The more obscure Villa-Lobos portugeuse songs, Manuel de Falla French songs and film composer Erich Korngold’s exquisite song repertoire hold her fascination. Ensemble recitals are great fun – Wolf’s Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, a performance with friends of The Complete Works of Clara Schumann and the vigorous Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer, to name a few she’s shared.

 Ms. Hansen graduated with honors from Oberlin College Conservatory and, after graduate studies at Indiana University, concertized extensively as a resident artist with the Portland Opera. She lived in New York City, working with the Metropolitan Opera, but now she is happily returned to Oregon.

 

Reviews:
Hansen is electrifying in her role as Leila, particularly on the aria Comme autrefois” Edmonton Journal March 2009

 "... accompanied soprano Amy Hansen, who lavished impressive coloratura skills on arias of Mozart, Handel, Delibes and others..." Washington Post 1/2/2 New Year's Eve Concert with National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center

"But the prize of the evening goes to Hansen's adorable Despina...Hansen delivered splendidly..." Willamette Week 2/13/02 Portland Opera, Cosi (Despina)

"Amy Hansen displays a rich, textured voice, whether she's belting a seductive, bluesy number or delivering a sensitive, introspective ballad about growing old."
"Amy, a Helen Hunt with pipes."
Oregonian re: premiere of jazz musical Look at Us Now

"... their last sustained note was exquisite, especially Hansen's high C. The first half of the program closed with Hansen singing an aria from Donizetti's "Linda di Chamounix." She managed the spectacular coloratura of the music with complete security. Her tone was always warm and appealing, and the rapid passage work was always clean and precise. It would be a pleasure to hear Hansen again, to hit the high E that she nailed so securely in the Donizetti." The Register Guard 1/15/2 Soloist with Oregon Mozart Players

"Hansen has a lovely voice with both the agility and the dramatic presence for the daunting Queen of the Night role...she absolutely nailed the infamous high F's in Der Holle Rache, and the audience loved her." Oregonian 2/1/99 Soloist with Oregon Symphony

"Hansen sang the wickedly high "Queen of the Night" aria with poise and drama" Oregonian 9/24/98 Soloist with Oregon Symphony

 “Soprano Amy Hansen (Despina) was a refreshing oasis of vocal and histrionic nuance. Her voice was the smallest of the cast, but even in a 3,000-seat theater, her singing made the most impact, and her characterization was the most vivid.” Mark Mandell, Opera News

 

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